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Quinnen Williams reps Jets as Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate

Quinnen Williams
Quinnen Williams, New York Jets, Getty Images

Williams’ charitable endeavors include a foundation, scholarship, and an ambassadorship in the American Cancer Society.

The New York Jets announced on Tuesday that defensive lineman Quinnen Williams has been named the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

This postseason award, named after the late Chicago Bears running back, is renowned for recognizing a player’s off-field endeavors, primarily those of a charitable fashion.

Previous Jets to win the award include Marty Lyons (1984) and Boomer Esiason (1995).

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Jets organization for such a prestigious nomination,” Williams said of his nomination in a statement on the Jets’ website. “I have always believed that the work and effort displayed on-field should replicate the passions for community service a player has off the field.”

Williams, in the midst of his third season with the Jets, is the founder of his eponymous foundation, one that is planning to expand to the New York/New Jersey area.

Among its accomplishments—benefiting the Birmingham, AL area where Williams grew up—include the creation of multiple $3,000 scholarships and holiday support to single families reaching $50,000.

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The defender is perhaps most proud of his involvement with the American Cancer Society. Having lost his mother Marquischa to breast cancer, Williams was one of the Jets’ most prominent voices as the team observed its annual Crucial Catch week back on Oct. 3.

Williams paid a virtual visit to Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ to meet with the young patients while he and his brother and fellow defender Quincy met and posed for photos with several breast cancer survivors prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans. To cap it off, Quinnen put up two sacks in the Jets’ 27-24 overtime triumph.

Teammates and management have expressed their support for Williams shortly after the announcement of his nomination.

In a Tuesday tweet, quarterback Zach Wilson remarked that Williams “represents all the qualities that make up a Walter Payton Man of the Year” and stands as “someone we can all look up to.”

“Quinnen exemplifies all of the greatest aspects of a professional athlete,” Jets President Hymie Elhai said in the aforementioned team note. “Not only has he displayed superb confidence and ability on the football field but has also dedicated so much of his time to communities and causes close to him. He has inspired all of us here at the Jets and continues to pave the way for those who come through this organization and the league.”

The 2021-22 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award will be presented at the NFL’s annual awards ceremony held three days before Super Bowl LVI.

Williams and the Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon at home against the New Orleans Saints (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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